Supporters march for gender equality in Wausau - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Supporters march for gender equality in Wausau

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

A group in Wausau is promoting equality for all genders.

Organizers of the Event for Equality held a peaceful march to the 400 Block to raise awareness against gender discrimination, as couples in Wisconsin wait for answers on same-sex marriage.

Chet Haatvedt and Dwaine Packard of Antigo say this march is something they knew had to be a part of.

"There was no stopping us we were going to be here," said Haatvedt.

The two marched with about a hundred others from Marathon Park to 400 Block.

"I think it's important that the public knows that we are regular people," said Packard.

After being together for nearly 30 years, the two got married in Langlade County when a federal judge lifted Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban.

Now with a temporary hold on that ruling, the couple says they're standing up for what they say is their civil right.

"We're legally married and we're still fighting," said Haatvedt.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen requested a federal judge to put same-sex marriages on hold, after the judge ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage "unconstitutional."

Van Hollen said he was "very pleased" when the judge put the hold in place.

He said clerks who issued same-sex marriage licenses could be charged by local district attorneys for breaking the law.

Organizers of the event say the equality issue extends beyond just marriage.

"It's the discrimination that goes on everyday of people of different gender identities and sexual orientations," said Shannon Thomas, President of the Event for Equality. "I think a lot of people don't even realize how much it affects our community."

While the future of same-sex marriage is unclear, organizers say they're hopeful.

"You can't stop progress and once it starts going," said Thomas. "It's going to keep going and we're so happy that Wisconsin is on its way to less discrimination and more equal rights."

Rights, supporters, say they'll continue to fight for.

At the event, different LGBTQ groups hosted booths on the 400 block.

A pastor also led a "Celebration of Love" to honor the commitment in all types of relationships.

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